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Old July 14th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #31
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Anyone looking to the Sola ENGs, look ELSEWHERE! I have had 3 of them and 2 died within the first month (technically, one was DOA). They are poorly built and cannot handle any sort of regular use. The 2 that I kept, both of their barn doors are cracked. I got these in addition to a Dedo LEDzilla and the Dedo has been perfect even though I have been much harder on it. Their color is no where near accurate.
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Old July 14th, 2012, 07:10 PM   #32
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

I only have one Sola ENG, but it is everything I had hoped it would be. I've been using it on a nearly daily basis since the beginning of the year and have had no trouble whatsoever. The quality of the light is excellent and mixes well with my other Litepanels lights.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 02:20 PM   #33
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Steve...having just taken Mr. Jensen's "Broadcast Quality Corporate Videos" Workshop in August, we used his LED lighting kit for the our location shoot, it was loaded and unloaded into the van with the normal care given any expensive gear, but I don't remember any special admonitions from Mr. Jensen to be especially careful with the lighting kit. As far as I know, all the lighting kit was still working properly for our B-Roll and studio VO shotlist. I guess we didn't break it? Heh, heh!

I also recently purchased and watched Mr. Jensen's LED Lighting DVD. It was great! Mr. Jensen's LED DVD was/is responsible for my deciding to purchase a similar lighting kit for my small video business. Believe when I say, allocating $6K - $7K of my companies equipment budget to lighting is a large investment, but frankly, after doing a 'cost/benefit' analysis, it just makes sense. Lite Panels LEDs are stated to have a 50K hours life expectancy, and as Mr. Jensen mentions in his DVD, this equates to approximately 8-hrs/day for 15-years! While I don't know what the "Failure-Mode" or yearly maintenance costs might be for Tungsten lighting, I'd venture a guess the "Mean-Time Between Failures(MTBF)" is significantly higher for Tungsten lighting. While the 'buy-in' cost is steep, IMHO, LEDs will pay for themselves in the long-run.

Now, I just need to get more business. Heh, heh!

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Old November 9th, 2012, 01:14 AM   #34
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

I have to ask, what advantages do you see over litepanels vs the cheaper LEDs? Aside from the color temperature which I know can be a bit off on the cheaper LEDs.

As far as softness (or lack of) in the lights, or any kind of quality of throw, wouldn't they be about the same?
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Old November 9th, 2012, 06:21 AM   #35
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Paul, I think many ask the same question. One might wonder if this is, in part, the reason why Litepanels has an infringement lawsuit which may have major impact in the LED lighting industry. Obviously they feel their are other companies using technology which they believe they own (and likely selling for much less).

That said, I have seen competitors with LED lights claiming similar CRI ratings to light panels.

Recently at PhotoPlus Expo in NYC, I noticed several companies based in China on the show floor with what appeared to be startup USA distributors. As you might know, LEDs are manufactured in China. While the build quality of some of these lights ranged, they were claiming CRI of 93 much like Litepanels.

Of course Litepanels do have some things close to unique such as the Sola/Inca Fresnel like lights (although I've seen a few competitors surfacing there as well), panels themselves have many competitors and much lower prices and, given what I saw at PhotoPlus, the competition is increasing.

One of the concepts I saw, which was quite intriguing, were modules of smaller lights (much as one might see on a camera) which can interlock to build a panel.

I also note there are many extremely inexpensive LEDs but at lower CRI ratings. Some companies will quite honestly note CRI ratings in the upper 80s. I believe Lowel mentioned that that was the case with their small Blender light.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #36
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

High CRI ratings are not a good indicator of color quality. Many articles have been written explaining just that. Leds by their nature do have a void or valley in their color spectrum which makes them not perfectly suited for critical color reproduction but to many the advantages in certain situations outweigh that inherent "flaw" .Many companies just throw around the CRI figures to attract sales not even knowing themselves what the true rating really is. I have seen many units in the "true" mid 80's that outperform, at least visually, to them overrated ones in the 90's. The true test is really in trying them out and see how they behave on real life situations rather than looking at spec sheets. Especially when a large investment is at stake.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 01:25 PM   #37
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

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The true test is really in trying them out and see how they behave on real life situations rather than looking at spec sheets. Especially when a large investment is at stake.
Not always easy to do for many people. Ideally the comparison should be with the same setup and with competing brands/models.

Personally, I'm inclined to avoid "heavy investment" in LEDs at the moment. In the "good old days" a good light kit was valuable for years. LED is such an "imperfect" and changing technology that it's conceivable that lights two years from now may well be improved. Purchases are much more of an ROI evaluation for LEDs as one may have consider it as a shorter term purchase than previous lighting instruments (tungsten).

Yes there's much more than CRI and I've read some of the very thorough tests but one has to realize a large portion of potential customers simply don't have that kind of time nor do the thoroughly understand the details. There's also financial realities and people need to know what compromises might be "acceptable."

Certainly there's LED use in some broadcast work and certainly what might be acceptable for News and Talks might be unacceptable for Episodic TV.

One of the bigger issues I have with LED marketing is that they just don't have enough detail on the quality of light their lights produce.

One of the reasons people turn to DVDs like VortexMedia is that they're willing to trust someone who has done the evaluation for their own business needs. My own concern is that it doesn't present alternatives.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #38
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

This is an interested somewhat detailed test.
Click through to see how the lights' CRI compare.
TRUColor Foton | PRG TruColor

Comparisons like this are also interesting.
comparison: Lowel ID-light & MicroPro LED light & Dedo Ledzilla Neil vN – tangents
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Old November 12th, 2012, 06:43 AM   #39
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hildebrandt View Post
I have to ask, what advantages do you see over litepanels vs the cheaper LEDs? Aside from the color temperature which I know can be a bit off on the cheaper LEDs.
As far as softness (or lack of) in the lights, or any kind of quality of throw, wouldn't they be about the same?
What I like about Litepanels is that they were the only ones I personally tested that had the features I wanted and the quality of light that I needed to replace my tungsten lights. And they were the only brand that offered the variety of instruments I need for shooting interviews, including Fresnels. I don't see how anyone can get along without a Fresenel light or two in their kit. And since I have gone 100% daylight balanced with my lighting, that ruled out using any of my old tungsten Fresnels.

Are there cheaper alternatives to Litepanels that I may have been happy with? Maybe. But not the other brands that I tested. And I'm not a testing lab or have the time or energy to test every light in the market. I found what worked for me, happily spent the money, and put them to work making money for me. No regrets whatsoever. In fact, just the opposite. Going with 100% daylight balanced, battery-operated, cool-running, lights has been the best move I ever made. As far as I'm concerned the lights have already paid for themselves.

My advice to anyone who is on a tight budget, or who rarely needs lighting -- is to just stick with tungsten lights. They're cheap and perfectly capable of producing excellent results. If you can't do LED right, don't do it at all.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 08:27 AM   #40
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Just bought and watched Doug's LED DVD yesterday. As usual, another great Vortex product! Some random thoughts in no particular order:

1. A copy of the DVD should be in every news room across the country, and each new hire should be required to watch it. Not so much for the LED portion, but for the interview set up basics.

2. I had to laugh when Dough said he'd never met anyone who uses HMI lights as their primary interview source. We should meet. After too many years of gelling tungsten fixtures, a Joker Bug two-light HMI kit was one of my first purchases when I put together my freelance kit a decade ago. They've been my go to, mixed light key source ever since. But LEDs weren't around back then...and I'd love to not have to drag around the ballast boxes, or do the maintenance.

3. This DVD seems like it's most useful to shooters more on the beginning end of their career, although I also found some nice takeaways, as well. His LED kit is over $8K as shown in the DVD, without accessories or stands. That's a pretty big nut for someone starting out.

4. I think I want to do Doug's Maine workshop sometime.

5. Maybe it's outside the scope of what Doug was intending here, but I would have been more interested in detailed LED specific comparisons, and a little less on interview logistics presumably covered equally well in his previous interview lighting DVD. A look at some of the pitfalls of other fixtures, and real world workarounds, might have been instructive. There are undoubtably many folks who would like to use LEDs for all the advantages Doug espouses, but may have to settle for lesser panels, or enter the market a fixture at a time. Some graphic examples of the perils of bad LED color reproduction, and how to lessen it, would be useful.

But as he notes above, go big with the package or go home.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 01:24 PM   #41
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

I think one has to understand that this is from Doug's personal experience. It's great information on LED lighting but maybe more limited value on LED light shopping. Somehow I think that may be a difference between his previous DVD on lighting.

It may be that Doug is in a different place now. Cost is less of a concern relative to known good quality. For him, the time to research may cost more than the difference in prices. Consider that two days of research may cost more than buying a more expensive set. He alludes to having looked at other brands and not being quite as happy with them but we, the viewer, are left with doubt since we don't know which lights he looked at and why he wasn't happy with them. Of course it may not be a good thing to disparage brands on a training DVD. At very least it would be good to explain what he looked for and why, more specifically, he found Litepanels best.

There are now a few companies coming to market with LED fresnels but I still haven't seen anything as small or inexpensive as Sola ENG.

There might be more competition with the Sola 4 though.
There's Dracast
LED Light Fresnel Light Fresnel LED 135 LED video lighting
Zyklight and Arri now have LED Fresnels as well.

One might want to look at Lowel Blender vs Litepanels Chroma though.
Lowel Blender

There are several 1x1 Panels on the market with the same diversity as Litepanels, similar specs on paper, much lower price. Litepanels themselves came out with non DMX versions at lower prices. They seem to be just under $1300.

But Flolight has similar models at $900 with similar specs on paper.
MicroBeam 1024 : High Powered LED Video Light - LED - FloLight LLC
as does Dracast
http://dracast.com/lights/led-lights...deo-light.html

There's no mention of the various "500" type LEDs. Maybe Doug found no need for them but I've seen so many of these on interview shoots that I can't help but think there's good reason many professionals find them adequate.

To the best of my knowledge, the above brands have good reputations and are used by working professionals as well.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 02:06 PM   #42
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

The big issue with LED units is their color purity. Unlike tungsten, where an inexpensive shoplight (or a standard household lightbulb, for that matter) can produce full-spectrum light, LED's vary widely in this regard. In general, you get what you pay for.

Ultimately it will come down to the subjective eye of the user. Some may not see an issue with the skintones they are getting, others will find them unacceptable. I would say that if a given user is one who frets endlessly about nuances in codecs, lenses or camera specs, they probably shouldn't be pointing inexpensive LED's at their subject's faces either.
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Old November 22nd, 2012, 05:12 PM   #43
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

The problem is many of us have nothing more than manufacturer specs and anecdotal stories to determine lighting quality short of buying or, in rare cases, renting (it seems many brands aren't available to rent).

Recently I was at a trade show and watched a panel discussion focused on LED lights. Shortly after, I went over to the Litepanels booth and talked to someone who had been on the panel along with a "booth" person. We were talking about light meters specifically designed for LED lights and he presented one he had just purchased for about $2K (which is very inexpensive for an LED specific light meter from what I understand). He tested the Litepanels 1x1s (a few different but set to 5600k) and it seemed the CRI was in the mid 80s. The spectrometer had the rise at around 450nm ish if I remember. Obviously the test conditions weren't idea and the quality of the meter itself was unknown.

Basically without real testing we have no way of knowing whether there's any light quality difference (CRI, spectrometer results, color temp) between Dracast and Litepanels for example or companies like PRG (which does have a test online) claiming their LED lights are better.

LEDs are certainly not full spectrum but it's just very hard to know how significant the differences are relative to price.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:54 PM   #44
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Will this DVD still be relevant to us hobby guys that can only afford cheap 160 leds?
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 08:34 PM   #45
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Re: New LED interview lighting DVD from Vortex Media - anyone seen it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ward View Post
Just bought and watched Doug's LED DVD yesterday. As usual, another great Vortex product! Some random thoughts in no particular order:.
Hi Bill, thank you for purchasing the DVD and I'm glad that you liked it. It'd be great to meet in person at one of my Maine Media courses if you can ever make it. The 2013 schedule should be finalized soon.

Honestly, you are the only person I've ever heard of that uses HMI lighting indoors for regular sit-down interviews. if you've been able to make that work for you, I'm impressed. My hat's off to you. I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out than use an HMI kit indoors. How does the talent like it?? :-)

I realize you're not really expecting a direct reply to you comments, but I thought I'd chime in anyway to your comments and some of things other people have raised. I hope my comments don't sound defensive, because that is not how I mean them. I just want to clarify a few things.

Yes, the lighting kit I have chosen to put together is expensive, and I make no apologies for that. I am serious about my career and the cost of a light kit is peanuts in the big scheme of things. It's always been my philosophy to invest in quality tools that will allow me to work better, faster, more efficiently, and that will last for years and years with reliable service. Furthermore, I don't ever want to have to apologize for my equipment to clients, tell clients 'it's just as good as _____", or take a backseat to anyone. I apply this philosophy to cameras, tripods, audio, etc. and it has never let me down.

I did buy (and discard) a couple of other brands of LED lights before I realized they weren't cutting it, and moved over to 100% Litepanels. But I choose not to name the names of those unacceptable lights in the DVD because I'd prefer not to get sued. And why single them out? If I named the brands I didn't like, would viewers then assume all the other brands are okay? I chose to keep the DVD positive and only name the equipment I choose to use in my own business.

Keep in mind that Vortex Media is not a testing lab and I can't just go out and buy a bunch of lights to test. And that's not the purpose of the DVD anyway. The purpose of the DVD is to show people HOW to use their lights and their cameras to create nice looking shots. It is up to the viewer to decide which lights are acceptable. And even it I did have the resources to test a bunch of different lights, the DVD would be outdated the very first month it came out because new lights are coming out all the time. Some good, and I assume some bad. So, Litepanels may or may not be be the only acceptable brand of lights out there. I honestly don't know. I'm just telling people what lights I chose, and why I chose them. If people find there are other brands for less money that can get the job done, that is great! Then they can sse the techniques in the DVD to make them fly. LED does require different techniques than other types of lights.

Another reason for choosing Litepanels is that they are the only brand that offers all the different types of lights that I need for interviews. What am I going to do with a a bunch of identical 1x1 panels from some other company? Nothing. It'd be like telling a mechanic he could only have 5 identical screwdrivers -- and no wrenches or other tools. Litepanels offers me the variety I need.

In my first interview lighting DVD (only tungsten) my goal was to teach people how they could get great results on a budget -- by using the exact same lights I used to use every day. Until that DVD came out, a lot of people didn't think you could do network news-magazine caliber interviews with a light kit that cost about $1500. However, I showed that you could, because that $1500 kit was the basic kit I used on over 200 freelance shoots per year for clients like Dateline, 20/20, History Channel, Discovery, etc. It wasn't because I could not afford a more expensive light kit, the point was that I didn't need other lights. That kit allowed me to move quickly and efficiently with no sacrifice in quality. That was the purpose of that DVD.

But with the LED DVD, that was not my goal. I am NOT showing what can be done on a budget. In fact, just the opposite. If someone does not have the resources to purchase quality LED instrument -- and a variety of different types of lights -- then I strongly suggest that they stay with tungsten. In my opinion, LED is not something that should be attempted on a tight budget if you care about doing quality work. If you took away my Litepanels lights, then I'd go back to tungsten.
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